Qatar, world’s richest country, finds money can’t buy security in Gulf
In his new exhibition in Doha, Qatari artist Maryam Al-Semaitt explained to the guests the central message of his latest work: what will happen when a great wealth is taken for granted.
The money, mainly from the sale of natural gas from a peninsula in the desert Gulf that was a British protectorate until 1971, paid for by skyscrapers, hotels and investment in the city in some of the most iconic companies, buildings and sports equipment of the world.
What he can not do, he said, provides a shield for what is now the richest country in the world. The confrontation with the neighbors of the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has revealed the precarious position of Qatar.
The soft power of the $ 1 billion Qatar brand they are supposed to protect has never been more fragile. The isolation of Doha, which cuts diplomatic ties and transport, is heading for a third week.
“The fact that we have always had security for granted, security is guaranteed now we interrogate these things,” said Al-Semaitt, 27, the second day of screening of his sculptures and images taken with another artist. The goal is to highlight, has said, how “we will not stop and never really appreciate what we have in our lives until we lose it.”
In the heart of the state of Qatar is its refusal to queue for the more powerful neighbors. It adopted the ultraconservative Arabia strain of Islam, although the lighter version, and the economy exploded, foreign policy were separated.
Although the emir of Qatar and remain convincing, the question is how to maintain an almost paradoxical existence. Take foreign policy. Qatar hosted a US air base since the early 2000s, while maintaining close ties to Islamist groups.
According to the Saudis and Emirates, which finances jihad while its sovereign wealth fund to 335 billion have stakes in global companies of the German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen AG and Barclays Plc to Glencore. In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup, the world football tournament.
“Qatar’s mark was about security and legitimacy,” said Samer Shehata, an associate professor in the policy and international relations program at the Graduate Studies Institute in Doha.
“It was to put Qatar on the map, so everyone knew what Qatar, Qatar and what is the significance of Qatar.
It became visible. “” But ultimately, what gives you soft power? “He added.” Can it produce security? The current crisis exposes this problem. I’m not sure that soft power is enough, especially if you live in a bad neighborhood. ”
The alternative road from Qatar dates back to the days when the British Empire was in its last death. It was a protectorate since the Ottomans were defeated in World War II and the ruling Al Thani family is committed to reselling the security check.
The energy industry at the beginning of the industry generated revenue in the 1950s and 1960s before the nation decided to go alone instead of joining what became the U.A.E. Like another emirate.
It is true that the entry of a giant gas field has allowed Qatar to extend its influence beyond money. With a per capita income of $ 130,000 more than double Saudi Arabia, it supports Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, a political party banned by its two neighbors from the Sunni Gulf and efforts to isolate Shi’ite rival Iran.
The Al-Jazeera satellite channel broadcast al-Qaida messages and supported dissident Arab dictators. Over the years there have been enraged Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian leaders, who often stopped their transmissions and expelled them from their personnel.
“Qatar can not hold stakes in the Empire State Building and London’s hull and use the proceeds to write checks to the al-Qaeda affiliate,” Yousef Al Otaiba, U.A.E. Ambassador to the United States, wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week.
“He can not smear his name on soccer jerseys, while his media networks burn extremist brand. He can not be the owner of Harrods, Tiffany & Co. instead providing refuge to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.”